Summer S’mores Pie

Smores Pie

I love nothing more than a good, gooey S’more on a summers day. Unfortunately, due to the drought in California, most campsites have banned campfires in fear of it causing a forrest fire. Last year, I made my Ultimate S’mores Brownies which were an absolute crowd pleaser. This year, I am preparing for the summer with my Summer S’mores Pie. It is served cold, which is perfect for a hot summers day! This recipe is the same as the Double Chocolate Pudding Pie recipe, with the addition of the topping. The marshmallow topping is perfectly goopey and the graham cracker crust has the perfect crunch.

Smores Pie

To start out, make the graham cracker crust. Simply place the graham crackers into a freezer ziplock bag and crush it with a rolling pin. Pour in the sugar and melted butter and toss until fully combined. Press the contents into a well buttered pie dish and bake. Remember to butter the pie dish! I have had so many instances where I forgot and the crust would be stuck to the dish.

Graham cracker crust

Once the pie crust is ready, the filling is quite simple to make. Dissolve the gelatin in a small bowl of water and set aside for it to bloom. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, measure out the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt.

Smores Pie

Add in the milk and whisk the mixture together until there are no more lumps. Turn the heat onto medium high heat and continue to whisk until it begins to thicken. This will take about 10 minutes of constant stirring. If it is left by itself without any whisking, the pudding will become lumpy.

Smores Pie

When the mixture is bubbly and has thickened in consistency, turn the heat off.

Smores Pie

Add in the chocolate chips, vanilla, and the bloomed gelatin.

Smores Pie

Whisk until the gelatin and chocolate has melted into the pudding and pour the mixture into the prepared graham cracker crust. Refrigerate for at least three hours for the pie to cool down and set.

When the pie has set, take it out of the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. I know this sounds counterintuitive but it is to make sure the marshmallow topping can actually stick to the pie. Otherwise, it will just slide around the top. To make the marshmallow topping. Simply measure out all of the ingredients into a glass bowl.

Smores Pie

Set it over a double boiler and with a hand held mixer, whip the fluff until it thickens.

Take a paper towel and dab the top of the pie to remove any condensation or moisture. Pour the marshmallow fluff onto the pie and spread it out. With a fork or a spoon, make some peaks and swirls into the fluff.

If you have a kitchen torch, use it to caramelize the top. If not, simply place the pie under an oven broiler to brown. Place it back into the fridge until it is ready to be served.

Note that the topping is very gooey so serving the pie will be messy, but is worth it! 

Smores Pie

Smores Pie

Summer S'mores Pie

recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger, Food Network

Graham Cracker Crust

9 full sheets of graham crackers

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted (plus more if needed)

4 Tbsp sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9in pie pan.
  2. In a gallon size ziplock bag, crush the graham crackers until finely ground using a rolling pin.
  3. Open and pour in sugar and make sure it evenly disperses.
  4. Pour in the melted butter and mix so that all of the crumbs have absorbed some butter. When you take a handful of graham crackers and squeeze, it should hold its shape. If it comes loose, melt some more butter 1 Tbsp at a time until it holds.
  5. Pour the graham crackers inside the pie pan. Firmly press the graham crackers in place using the bottom of a measuring cup or small cup.
  6. Bake for 10-12 min, or until it is at a toasted golden brown, and then let it cool.

Chocolate Pudding Filling

1 pack unflavored gelatin

1/3 c cold water

2/3 c sugar

1/3 c cocoa

1/3 c cornstarch

pinch salt

3 c whole milk

2 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

1 tsp vanilla

  1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt.
  3. Turn the heat onto medium high and gradually pour in all of the milk.
  4. Whisk constantly; never leave or stop whisking otherwise it will turn lumpy. Make sure you whisk the bottom of the pot well as some may remain on the bottom and burn.
  5. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens to a pudding consistency. It may take about 5-10 min, then remove from heat.
  6. Add in chocolate, vanilla, and reserved gelatin.
  7. Pour mixture into pie crust and set for at least 3 hours (overnight recommended).

Marshmallow Topping

1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

pinch salt

3 Tbsp corn syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 teaspoon water

1 egg white

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a glass bowl and place over a double boiler.
  2. With a hand held mixer, whip the contents on medium high speed until it forms white, medium soft peaks.
  3. Leave the pie out to come to room temperature. Take a paper towel and dab the top of the pie to remove any moisture or condensation. (This will prevent the marshmallow topping from sliding right off the pie)
  4. Pour the marshmallow fluff onto the pie and with a fork or spoon, form swirls and peaks.
  5. Using a kitchen torch or oven broiler, caramelize the fluff until golden brown.
  6. Place it back into the refrigerator until the pie is cold. Once cold, it is ready to be served!

Smores Pie

 

Lemony Lemon Cake

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It is that time of the year where your neighbors and friends drop off large bags of fresh picked lemons on your doorstep even though you have your own lemon tree growing in your backyard! I have long been a fan of this ridiculously sour fruit. Whenever I drink water, I always like to place half a lemon in to spruce it up. I love the lemon bars that I have made a while ago, and even add lemon into my homemade chicken noodle soup! The flavor of a lemon can either be a star or an enhancer of the flavors around it, depending on how you want to use it. With lemon season upon us, I wanted to make it the star and decided to make a lemony lemon cake! Not just a regular lemon pound cake which is probably the most popular form of turning this fruit into dessert, but lemony lemon where we double the use and include the zest as well to enrich the flavor.

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For this recipe, I picked four lemons fresh from our lemon tree. Our tree is still ripening, but have a nice handful of lemons that are already ripe and ready to be used.

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This recipe is actually a lot easier that I thought it would be and used less ingredients than a typical cake. I think a major part is because it relies on the six eggs, which deepens the flavor and adds body to the actual cake itself. Measure out the flour, baking powder, and salt in a sifter and set aside for later use.

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Beat together the sugar and butter until white, fluffy, and creamy. When it looks like the above photo, add the eggs in one at a time.

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While that is going, zest four lemons and juice them until you get 3 tablespoons worth of lemon juice. I only needed one lemon’s worth of juice as it was a large one. Add the zest into the batter after the addition of eggs. Then, sift in the dry ingredients, mix, and add the milk and lemon juice (basically making buttermilk but contains the lemon flavor). Separate the batter as evenly as you can into three pans that have been buttered and floured down. I also cut out parchment paper circles to line the bottom of the pan. The batter will be thick but light and fluffy!

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Bake until golden and the tops bounce back when pushed down with a finger.

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Allow them to completely cool before using! For my finished cake, I unfortunately do not have any photos of the assembly as I was in a rush to finish the cake. To assemble them, I used a serrated knife to trim off the sides of the cake (as they were baked slightly dry) and filled the layers with a jar of beautiful lemon curd I made a couple days before. I will be doing a tutorial on that as well in the future but have included the recipe below.

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To top it off, I made a gorgeous swiss meringue buttercream. I chose this form of buttercream as opposed to the other kinds because the silky texture would be able to complement the spongy texture of the cake as well as balance out the tart lemon curd without being too overpoweringly sweet. A detailed tutorial of the Swiss Meringue Buttercream can be found here.

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To create the swivels and ruffles, I used a Wilton 1M tip that I also use to make rosettes. I simply pipe 2 inch sections along the side all the way to the top middle of the cake and then begin the next section. The swiss meringue buttercream is perfect for this because it maintains a silky look! A traditional American buttercream can leave a dried out look so the Swiss buttercream is perfect for the job! This cake is perfect and ready for the summertime!

Lemony Lemon Cake

makes one cake (three layers)

recipe adapted from Cupcake Jemma

3 c flour

4 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 3/4 c sugar

1 2/3 c unsalted butter, room temp

6 large eggs, room temp

zest of 4 lemons

3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons worth of juice)

2 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 340 degrees F. Butter and flour three 8 inch baking pans, then line with parchment paper circles. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes until fluffy and has lightened in color. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing between each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add in the lemon zest, then the sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until incorporated. Pour in the lemon juice and milk and mix until completely mixed in, then the batter is done! Evenly divide the batter between the three pans and bake until golden and the cake bounces back if poked, about 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool completely before using!

Perfect Lemon Curd

recipe by Cupcake Jemma

makes about 3 cups of lemon curd

5 egg yolks + 2 whole eggs

zest of 1 lemon

1/c c lemon juice (about 3 lemons)

1/2 c sugar

1/4 c unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Over a double boiler, mix together the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar. Continue to stir over heat until the mixture has thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Add in the butter and mix until all is melted. Push through a fine mesh sieve to get out any lumps. Add into jars and refrigerate until completely cooled. Serve however you like!

New York Cheesecake

New York Cheesecake

It would only take you two minutes in our apartment for you to realize two things: we have thin walls, and we are a loud group of girls. You put the two together and would probably not want to be our neighbors. Unfortunately for our resident director and his roommates, they got stuck with us four girls as their upstairs neighbors. It’s not that we run around and do jumping jacks just to spite them; the ceiling and floors are just really thin and the footsteps echo through the floor.

New York Cheesecake

Still, I wanted to make them a “We’re sorry you have to hear us and deal with us” treat and decided to make a cheesecake. Cheesecakes often have more “umph,” more pizazz than a cupcake or fruit tart. I had berries on hand and decided to pile them on to allow the tartness cut through the creaminess. Needless to say, the cheesecake came out great and we hope our apologies are accepted! From here on out, only gentle footsteps allowed!

New York Cheesecake

To begin making the cheesecake, you need to make the graham cracker crust. Put the graham crackers in a freezer ziplock back and use a rolling to crush it to crumbs. I only had a half gallon size bag, but I recommend you use the gallon size.

New York Cheesecake

Next, add in the sugar and melted butter. Toss it around in the ziplock bag until all the butter has been soaked into the crumbs. When you squeeze a fistful of the crumbs, it should hold its shape. If it’s too crumbly, add in a tablespoon more or melted butter until it holds. Pour the mixture out into a buttered 9inch springform pan. You don’t want to bake the cheesecake for such a long time, only to have to pry it out of the pan!

New York Cheesecake

Use a measuring cup to press the crumbs down and up the sides of the pan. Once that is ready, bake it for 12-14 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

New York Cheesecake

As the crust is baking, make the filling. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature! I usually first measure the quantity then leave the ingredients out for a couple hours before I actually make it. It helps prevent cracks from forming while it bakes. If a cold filling batter was put into a hot oven, it would rise and then fall too quickly due to the sudden change in temperature. However, if it is already at room temperature, then the difference would not be so dramatic.

New York Cheesecake

In a stand mixer (handheld is fine too), whip the cream cheese frosting with the salt and vanilla until it is smooth and soft. Slowly pour in the sugar and whip until silky.

New York Cheesecake

Scrape down the side of the bowl then turn the mixer back on medium. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure it is fully incorporated before the next egg goes in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

New York Cheesecake

Add in the sour cream, then heavy whipping cream and beat it on high for one minute, and the batter is ready. Take the springform pan and wrap it with aluminum foil. This is to prepare it for the water bath, as we do not want any water to be able to seep into the cheesecake. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan.

New York Cheesecake

It’s a perfect fit.

New York Cheesecake

Place the cheesecake into a roasting pan, and fill it halfway up with boiling hot water. Make sure the water level is not too high where it can seep into the aluminum!

New York Cheesecake

Bake at 325 degrees for 1hr 30min to 2 hours, or until the top is golden brown.

New York Cheesecake

Once it is finished baking the cheesecake must be slowly cooled otherwise the middle will sink in too much. I do this by first leaving it in the oven with the oven temperature off for about 15 minutes, then with the oven door ajar for another 15, then I remove it and place it on the oven, then I unwrap it, and when it has cooled to a warmer room temperature, then I finally move it into the refrigerator. I know some of you may think that is excessive but it works for me so I’ll stick to it!

New York Cheesecake

Finally, once the cheesecake is completely cold, you may release it from the pan. You will want to first run a knife along the sides, then unlatch its buckle. Cut out a fat slice for yourself and serve with a glaze, fruit, or berry jams!

New York Cheesecake

New York Cheesecake

recipe from Life Made Simple Bakes

Crust

2 c graham cracker crumbs (about 15 sheets)

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

Pinch salt

5 tbsp. butter, melted

Filling

2 lbs. or (4) 8 oz. blocks plain cream cheese, room temperature

¼ tsp. salt

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1½ c granulated sugar

4 eggs, room temperature

⅔ c sour cream, room temperature

⅔ c heavy whipping cream, room temperature

Sour cream topping

1½ c sour cream

¼ c powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

  1. Generously butter the inside of a 9inch springform pan. Wrap the bottom and sides with extra large aluminum foil so that the no water can leak in. Wrap it with two layers for extra security. Crimp the top of the foil around the top edge of the springform pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, placing the top rack in lower third of oven.
  2. In a large freezer ziplock bag, finely grind the graham cracker to crumbs with a rolling pin. Add in the sugar and salt. Pour the melted butter over top and mix until the crumbs become coated.
  3. Pour into the prepared springform pan and gently press up the sides using a measuring cup to help. Carefully work the crumbs up the sides so that they are 1½” tall and approximately ¼” thick. You should have a nice layer on the bottom and the sides should go about halfway up your pan. Place into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Turn oven down to 325 degrees.
  4. Beat the cream cheese, salt and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer for approximately 4 minutes or until smooth and creamy. With mixing speed on low, gradually add the sugar, then turn back up to high and beat for an additional minute. With mixing speed on medium, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add the sour cream, then the heavy cream, beat on high for 1 minute.
  5. Place the prepared springform pan into a large high-sided roasting pan. Pour the cream cheese filling into the springform pan, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Pour boiling water around the springform pan, taking care not to get any on the filling. You’ll want the water to go halfway up the side of the pan. Place in the oven and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minuets. If you like extra firm cheesecake, continue baking for an additional 14 minutes for a total of 2 hours.
  6. After the the cheesecake has baked, turn off the oven, slightly crack the door open and allow to cool for 1 hour. This is the key to getting a perfect top without it falling or cracks forming. Remove the cheesecake from the bath, dry the bottom and cover with foil. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
  7. Prepare the topping by combining all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stirring together until smooth. Using a spatula, spread over the top of the cooled cheesecake. During the chilling process the cheesecake should come away from the edges of the pan, making it easy and mess-free to remove it before serving.
  8. Note: I used vanilla extract instead of a vanilla paste, which made my glaze more watery than it should have been. To thicken it up, you can use more sour cream and less powder sugar as more powder sugar will just water it down.

New York Cheesecake